Modern Political Campaigns brings together academic, practical, and interviews to help understand how professionalism, technology, and speed have revolutionized elections, creating more voter-centric races for public office. Dr. Michael D. Cohen, a 20+ year veteran of working on, teaching, and writing about political campaigns take readers through how campaigns are organized, state-of-the-art tools of the trade, and how some of the most interesting people in politics got their big breaks.
The book takes readers through clear-eyed chapters on parties and elections, campaign planning and management, fundraising, independent groups, vulnerability and opposition research, data and analytics, focus groups and polling, earned, paid and social media, and field operations. Finally, the book revisits the Permanent Campaign in terms of modern approaches to winning elections raising questions about today’s uniform preference for turnout over persuasion and what that means for our American democracy.
Modern Political Campaigns will appeal to students and political activists interested in working in political campaigns. It is also a great read for anyone who wants to better understand the nuts and bolts of campaigns in practical terms from professionals, and the opportunities they provide all of us to be more engaged citizens and hold our leaders more accountable each Election Day.
MICHAEL D. COHEN, Ph.D. is CEO of Cohen Research Group, a political, public affairs, and corporate research firm. He publishes the award-winning Congress in Your Pocket suite of mobile apps and teaches college courses on political campaigns, research methods, digital strategy, and public policy in Washington, DC.
Chapter 1 – Parties and Elections
Chapter 2 — Planning and Management
Chapter 3 — Fundraising
Chapter 4 — Independent Groups
Chapter 5 — Vulnerability and Opposition Research
Chapter 6 — Data and Analytics
Chapter 7 — Focus Groups and Polling
Chapter 8 — Earned Media
Chapter 9 — Paid Media
Chapter 10 — Social Media
Chapter 11 — Field Operations
Chapter 12 — The New Permanent Campaign
For anyone who wants to gain an understanding of how technology has revolutionized modern politics and political campaigns, Michael Cohen’s book is a must read.
As both an academic researcher and a political professional Michael Cohen effectively bridges theory and practice. Modern Political Campaigns is an important contribution to the literature on contemporary political strategy.
“Voters live online…” says Michael D. Cohen in MoMichael Cohen has written a perceptive, lucid and entertaining account of how political campaigns actually operate, and gives the reader a much more realistic framework for viewing contemporary politics than can be gained from most academic analyses or the conventional wisdom narratives many in the media rely on. Most usefully, he provides an insightful examination of the modern transition from persuasion to turnout strategies in political campaigns, and its impact on the health of our Republic.
Michael Cohen has written a perceptive, lucid and entertaining account of how political campaigns actually operate, and gives the reader a much more realistic framework for viewing contemporary politics than can be gained from most academic analyses or the conventional wisdom narratives many in the media rely on. Most usefully, he provides an insightful examination of the modern transition from persuasion to turnout strategies in political campaigns, and its impact on the health of our Republic.
Modern Political Campaigns is a contribution to helping people who are interested in politics and campaigns to understand how it really works. Michael Cohen’s book goes beyond the academic literature, laying out in great detail how modern technology helps us better understand, reach, and motivate voters as well as heightened responsibilities live up to our ideals.
Mike is a "Mad Political Scientist", his book perfectly captures the never-ending campaign in this digital era.
Michael Cohen has written a book that is rare in politics. It is both practical and aspirational, concluding that technology innovations are both the cause of division and our potential salvation. It's a must-read for all political professionals who work to elect candidates and help them move the nation forward once in office.
Reading Michael Cohen's survey of political campaign techniques and talents is like stepping into a field of dreams for anyone seeking to determine if their future lies in politics, political science, public affairs and administration. For anyone interested in learning how public policy gets made, this is the textbook that has been missing from our curriculum.
Students, teachers, activists and leaders alike will appreciate that the digital landscape and advanced technology applications highlighted in Cohen's political narrative are the same that drive today's important social justice and sustainability movements. Reading this work will help so many to have a greater impact for good.
Michael Cohen has written a fascinating, readable, humorous and helpful look at the key aspects of modern political campaigns. As both a practitioner and a theoretician, Cohen knows campaigns cold. After reading his book, you will as well.
Dr. Cohen has long brought his enthusiasm and sharp insight of political campaigns into board rooms and classrooms alike. This book is a valuable compendium of the wisdom he has garnered both as a practitioner and from the forward looking leaders he regularly engages to advance the field.
This book is an incredible opportunity and must read for anyone who is interested in how to run a campaign in the 21st Century. Dr. Cohen is a master at intuitively explaining all facets of how to run a professional winning campaign.
There is no better person to address technology and professionalism in campaigns than Michael Cohen. Michael provides great insight into modern campaigning and this book will quickly become a must read for political professionals and public policy students alike. It’s a fresh look at a timeless art - winning elections.
In Modern Political Campaigns, Michael Cohen combines his wealth of experience as both an academic and practitioner to the evolution and future of campaigns. His insights and examples provide aspiring professionals with a comprehensive understand of how campaigning has evolved and the future of campaigns. I have witnessed his ability to do this as a guest lectures in several of my courses over the years examining the intersection of entrepreneurship and politics.
For anyone who is looking to work in political campaigns or understand how it really works, Modern Political Campaigns by Michael Cohen is the book to read right now.
The Obama campaign opting out of public funding in 2008 supercharged the professionalization of politics through the democratization of participation and activation. The combination of more resources and the inability of the traditional gatekeepers to stay current with the world around them, has fundamentally changed how campaigns are waged and won, and a new generation of decision makers has emerged. Dr. Michael Cohen has managed to capture just how much professionalism, technology, and speed have revolutionized elections and the potential implications going forward.
Most books about money in politics take a cynical view that is wrong and makes the system worse. Michael Cohen’s refreshingly candid Modern Political Campaigns shows the practical side of political fundraising. He demonstrates that it is good business and good politics for fundraisers to retain their ethics while working to provide campaigns the resources they need to compete and win.
A fantastic read to understanding the intricacies of contemporary campaigns. Dr. Cohen's work leaves no stone unturned in tackling the subject with plenty of pragmatic examples, taking readers on a journey of exploration behind the curtain of 21st-century campaigns.
Modern Political Campaigns combines academic and practical perspectives to explain how modern campaigns use professionalism and technology. This volume looks at campaign planning and management, media, fundraising, research and polling, It also examines why many of today’s campaigns prioritize turnout over persuasion and what that means for future elections and democracy.
9/6/21, The Political Life Podcast: Cohen talked about writing his book.
9/16/21, The Bulwark: Cohen wrote an article about Biden’s presidency.
9/28/21, Pro Politics Podcast with Zac McCray: Cohen talked about polling, creating his Congress in Your Pocket app, and writing his book on this podcast.
10/4/21, ABC6: Cohen was interviewed about his predictions for the 2024 election.
10/13/21, The Business of Politics Show (Podcast): Cohen appeared as a guest to offer advice on building a career in politics.
10/26/21, The Hill: Cohen wrote an article about the campaign tactics behind the governor’s race in Virginia.
10/26/21 - Piece on VA Governor's Race in The Hill Newspaper Today by Michael Cohen
1/27/22, Loudoun County Public Library: Michael Cohen gave a book talk centered around his book.
3/18/22, Real Clear Policy: Cohen weighed in on the current state of American “permanent campaigns.”